Discover North Carolina’s mineral riches with Shields Flynn at next Live@Lanier

Published 1:44 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

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TRYON—At the next Live@Lanier at Lanier Library, Shields Flynn will unearth mineral treasures found in his new book and in North Carolina, from gold to lithium and the gemstone hiddenite found only in Hiddenite, NC.

A rockhound since he was eight years old, Flynn, with his geology degree, passion for photography, and collectible minerals business experience, is excited to see his new book “Unearthing North Carolina’s Mineral Treasures” finally in print. After years in the works, extensive research, contacts with museums, and collaboration with other photographers, the book is 104 pages of intriguing photographs and down-to-earth science, literally and figuratively. 

The history of exploration and discovery is surprising with stories such as C.W. Jenks searching for corundum in North Carolina to use in abrasives and finding the first sapphire in the United States. 

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Before the California Gold Rush in 1848, North Carolina was the leader in US gold mining and processing. In 2011, gold was named the official state mineral, joining emerald as the official gemstone. Today, in Polk County alone, according to, there are 20 gold mine sites. The state is also estimated by to have the largest amount and variety of gemstones and minerals in the US. Collectors can find amethyst, ruby, sapphire, garnet, topaz, aquamarine, and more.

Shields has collected regionally and in locations as diverse as the UK and Namibia. Samples from his collection will be in the Lanier Library display case throughout July as part of the Felburn Nature and Wildlife Series.

The event will take place on Wednesday, July 17, at 1 p.m. Lanier Library is located at 72 Chestnut Street. For more information, call 828-859-9535 or visit